Girlz selection shelved

Menzies awaiting contract resolution with JFF to proceed

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

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The proposed selection of at least 14 players for the Reggae Girlz final squad to the Fifa Women's World Cup has been placed on hold by Head Coach Hue Menzies and his team, pending a contractual agreement with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Menzies and his assistants Lorne Donaldson and Andrew Price were intent on selecting those players to form the core of the 23-member squad following the team's sweep of their two-match women's friendly series against Chile with 1-0 and 3-2 scorelines, respectively.

However, Menzies revealed that selection process was shelved by the coaching staff as they await the correction of what he described ''outdated contracts'' sent to several players by the JFF.

“We haven't selected the players as yet, and we won't until we resolve the contract issues. Cedella [Marley] and her lawyer are trying to negotiate and get it resolved because the contracts they sent us are outdated, so for now everything is on hold.

“So right now we don't have any staff and we don't have any team, so they have to get it sorted and they told us that they are going to take care of it so we await the outcome,” Menzies told the Jamaica Observer via telephone.

He also pointed out that any delays in resolving the aforementioned issue could possibly result in a stand-off ahead of the proposed South Africa camp scheduled for early April.

“Obviously, we evaluated them from the last two camps and we kind of have a lock in on 14 players, and we are trying to build the final 23 after the next camp and then we will announce our roster after that and get ready for the Panama game and obviously for France.

“But, depending on how things go, I don't know if we are going to South Africa. So right now we just have to take care of the contract issue, the legal issue and get it resolved so we can move forward with the selection process,” Menzies noted.

That said, the tactician expressed pleasure with what he has seen from the team so far in the build-up to their historic bow at the women's showpiece event scheduled for June 7 to July 7 in France.

This as he continued the strategy of bringing together a pool of players that balances youth and experience.

“We have some special players that make a lot of difference, players that we can put in the games to go in and be special and I thank God I have them,” Menzies declared.

“We have always built our programme on a mix of youth and experience, and that won't change. Obviously there might be some personnel change but we have a core of players that we have locked in on and so we want to select them early and add the rest after to ensure we have a good balance,” he added.

While Jamaica's opponents will expect the country's brand of football to revolve around the prolific Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, Menzies is plotting a different script.

Though Shaw's class and quality are highly rated within the Reggae Girlz set-up, Menzies pointed to the depth and unpredictability of his programme as an avenue to surprise their more illustrious opponents.

The 53rd-ranked Reggae Girlz have been drawn in Group C alongside Australia, Brazil and Italy.

“Everyone played (in those friendlies) and the thing is, it was two tough games, so we really got a good evaluation of the depth that we have and that was the main thing and then obviously rotating people in different positions was key for us. So there were a lot of positives from seeing everyone in action as it explained a lot about our depth.

“So we welcome every opportunity to evaluate players for this summer's squad, as we look at how partnerships are coming together during the (friendly) games. We still have a few areas we need to tighten up on, but at the end of the day, the objective is to ensure that we have the right players that will ensure that Jamaica makes an impact at the World Cup,” Menzies ended.

Jamaica's campaign will begin on June 9 when they face Brazil at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France. They will then travel to Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims on June 14 for battle against Italy, before concluding the group phase on June 18 against top-ranked Australia in Grenoble.

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